Twelve-year-old Kirti holds a pen with the fingers of left foot and neatly writes her name on the top of each of her Class 8 notebooks. Her smooth writing does not give away the pain and trauma she suffered after losing both her hands in an accident just four years ago.
“I want to become a schoolteacher,” she tells HT, after showing off her Class 6 and 7 marksheets. The Class 8 student of a government-run upper primary school in Bhartarpur’s Lalita Mudiya village scored first division marks in both the classes by writing with her foot, an art she has perfected over the years.
In December 2012, Kirti, then in Class 4, had gone out to relieve herself in the fields – her house did not have a toilet – when she accidentally touched a live wire. Doctors had to amputate her hands and some fingers of right foot to prevent infection from spreading to other parts of the body.
Instead of allowing physical disability to get the better over her, the child chose to study hard.
“I need some help to do the daily chores. At home, my mother (Guddi Devi) helps me to bath and wash and at school, my classmates Karishma, Renu, Sonam, Priyanka and Archana help me to eat tiffin and go to the toilet. But I can write on my own,” she says confidently.
Her school headmaster, Vishanlal Sharma, is all praise for her. “She writes clean and good answers. I’m sure she will do well in life,” he says.
Kirti’s family too has coped with the jolt well. Instead of blaming the power department for negligence, Kirti’s father Hemraj constructed a toilet at home. “I didn’t want my other children to meet with another accident.”
So far, 1.6 lakh toilets have been constructed in Bharatpur district under the government’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).
Hemraj, however, worries about the future of his daughter. “She is a bright student, but we need financial aid to get her artificial limbs that can give her a better future. The Rs 500 disability pension we get from the government is not enough,” he says. Hemraj is a small farmer and the sole breadwinner for the family of five.